As I get towards the end of this project, #39 of 52, I find that I’m starting to run into the people I have scarce information on. My 3rd great-grandfather is one of them. Like Daniel Bonser, another 3rd great-grandfather, I see that most of my information about William comes from census information. Let’s run through it then!
I found William as a 27-year-old on the 1850 U.S. census listed with his name and not just as a tick mark in a column as in pre-1850 censuses. Given his age, William was born around 1823. William’s parents were William C. (65) and Sarah (58). His siblings were Lucinda (23), John (21) and Mary (18). I am assuming all the relationships listed here as this census does not tell how they are related. The family was living in Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey. Looking at the ages of everyone, this was a pretty mature household with the children being of age to marry and set up their own homesteads.
In his own household was exactly where William was in 1860. William (35) had married Elizabeth Card in 1864 and they immediately started their family. Young persons Ira W. (7) and Mary I. (5) were listed in the same household. Again, I am assuming all the relationships listed but I have documents related to Ira that show his parents were indeed William and Elizabeth. William was working as a farmer and they were living in rural West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. Also living in the household was an 18-year-old laborer, most likely a farm hand helping with the chores.
William, now 45 years old, was found in the 1870 census in Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey. He was working as a laborer. William and Elizabeth’s household had grown to six children: three from the previous census, Ira (17), Mary (15), and Coursen (12) and three new to this census Warren (10), Martha (7) and George (1). Later in life, Ira purchased his own farm. I’m sure working together long hours with his father in the fields gave him the experience he needed to strike out with his own farm.
The 1880 U.S. census shows William again working as farmer. He was still living in Hardyston Township. William (55) was listed with wife (relationships are delineated in this census) Elizabeth (44) and son Coursen (21), son Warren (19) and young daughter Mallie B. (4). Their other children, Ira and Mary, were living in their own households by this time. It is unclear what had become of Martha and George who were listed in the 1870 census.
I believe that William passed away around 1898 at the age of 73. Since the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire, it is not known where William was living before his death. Some further information is needed to confirm that death date. I need to find some sort of death record for William and to locate his burial site. If you’ve seen his burial site or tombstone or obituary, feel free to contact me or leave a comment [dad?]!
 1850 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Vernon, p. 65B, dwelling 347, family 358, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 464.
 1860 U. S. census, Passaic County, New Jersey, population schedule, West Milford, p. 9 (penned), dwelling 57, family 54, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 706.
 Membership application, Jodi Strait-Shutts, National no. 855323, on John Angle (1725-1784, New Jersey), approved 06 October 2007; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Washington, D.C.
 1870 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston Township, p. 37 (penned), dwelling 289, family 292, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 889.
 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 178, p. 5 (penned), dwelling 38, family 39, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.